Story of three stars
This handwritten account was shared with the Checkerboard by Mary Zanowiak at the San Antonio Convention. It belonged to her late husband, Paul Zanowiak.
Rhineland (west of the Rhine) — Sept. 15, 1944 to March 21, 1945
The Ardennes (breakthrough) — Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 25, 1945
Central Europe (east of the Rhine) — March 22, 1945 to May 9, 1945
2nd Section, 3rd Platoon, H/395, 99th Division, 5th Corps, 1st Army
S/Sgt. Joseph Smith, section sergeant
S/Sgt. Henry Filikowicz, squad leader
Cpl. Fred Billet, No. 1 gunner
Pfc. Tony Bone, No. 2 gunner
Pfc. Henry Newberry, No. 3 gunner
Pfc. Floyd Sizemore, ammo bearer
Pfc. Paul Zanowiak, ammo bearer
Pfc. Bil Poole, ammo bearer
Pfc. Charles Eastwood, squad driver
S/Sgt. Otto Butzin, squad leader
Cpl. Eugene Oledzki, No. 1 gunner
Pfc. David Malberg, No. 2 gunner
Pvt. Frank Richter, No. 3 gunner
Pfc. Albert Selva, ammo bearer
Pfc. Snake Adkins, ammo bearer
Pvt. Carl Jordan, ammo bearer
Pvt. Wm. Allgood, squad driver
Capt. Lewis Bratton, company commander
1st Lt. Bronson Kinchloe, executive officer
1st Lt. "Pops" Heydrick, 1st Platoon leader
1st Lt. "Rod" Roderick, 2nd Platoon leader
1st Lt. Robert Hinn, 3rd Platoon leader
2nd Lt. Amedee Richards, 1st section leader
2nd Lt. Kline, 2nd section leader
2nd Lt. Herbert Cantor, 3rd section leader
Left USA: Sept. 29, 1944
Arrived England: Oct. 10, 1944
Arrived France: Nov. 2, 1944
Arrived Belgium: Nov. 6, 1944
Arrived Germany: Nov. 9, 1944
Arrived home, USA: ???
Nov. 9, 1944: On line for first time at Kalterherberg. Dug-in positions. Snake Adkins went into third section and Calvin Calvert came into squad.
Dec. 12: Heaviest snowfall. Left Kalterherberg.
Dec. 13: On the offensive. Went into the attack in the vicinity of the Monschau Forest on left flank of 2nd Division.
Dec. 14: Purple Heart Hill between towns of Krinkelt and Bullingen. Hit and knocked out about 20 pillboxes. First casualties from 88s and machine guns.
Dec. 17: Von Rundstadt's Bulge. Started to withdraw and were encircled.
Dec. 18: Motor pool shelled heavily and many casualties.
Dec. 19: Fake withdrawal ordered by enemy, who were in possession of our radio code. We returned to positions.
Dec. 20: 2nd Division made an opening and we withdrew to Elsenborn, Belgium. Butzin fell out of march with a bad knee and the 4th squad trailer was destroyed with both mortars on it. Almost no division left to speak of.
Dec. 21: Lt. Kline left with frozen feet. It was rumored among other outfits that the 99th was wiped out.
Dec. 23: In 9th Division reserve. Dug-in in woods south of Elsenborn, Belgium.
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve. Returned to Elsenborn. A very beautiful, clear night. Second section broken up. Third squad intact with Ole, Selva, and Malberg with 3rd section, Jordan, Richter 1st section.
Dec. 25: A sunny day. Plenty of packages for everyone. Planes strafed lines and plenty of our bombers overhead, like a Christmas present for us.
Jan. 5, 1945: Relieved 38th Regiment, 9th Division. Closer to Elsenborn now. Beau coup firing and counter-fire. FOC in a small brick building. We get to town about two days a week. Lt. Hinn is exec. officer and "Pops" Hedrick is platoon leader. Snow three or four feet deep. Many blizzards. Calvert left.
Jan. 10: 4th squad reactivated and Pinamonti came into the squad. Revelle came into 3rd squad. Redmond, 4th squad leader. Malberg transferred to 3rd section.
Jan. 17: Molley came into 4th squad.
Jan. 28: Phillips came into 4th squad.
Jan. 29: Relieved 39th Inf., 9th Division. Very swampy ground. Transferred to VII Corps.
Feb. 1: Lt. Cantor section leader. Smith left.
Feb. 3: Moved to new area. No one knew what the score was.
Feb. 4: Moved into woods outside Siegfried Line. A very cold, rainy night.
Feb. 5: Walked through dragons teeth to Hollerath. Relieved units of 1st Division, who were in the defense. We saw the first signs of mass deaths of Germans and animals, evidently caused by our artillery. Zuback is 3rd squad leader and Flip is section sergeant. Revelle left.
Feb. 12: Relieved by 69th Division who were on line for the first time. Spent a very cold, wet night in the woods.
Feb. 14: Valendar, Belgium. Temporary rest area. Time on line: 103 days.
Feb. 15: Zanowiak in the 4th squad. We helped build roads.
Feb. 20: Aubel, Belgium. Ole, 4th squad leader. Capt. Bratton in 1st Bn. Lt. Hinn took over company. Lt. Cantor platoon leader. O'Briant came into 4th squad, and Bone drove for 3rd squad. Tobin in 3rd squad.
Across the Cologne Plains
March 1: Crossed Roer River. Spearheaded across Erft Canal and battled in tank trap to clear way for 3rd Armored Division at Bergheim.
March 4: Started rapid offensive to Rhine. Took Rosellyn, first town. First taste of house-to-house fighting.
March 6: Hit the Rhine at Udesheim, across from Dusseldorf.
March 7: Redmond back. O'Briant 3rd squad driver. Phillips, 4th squad.
March 10: Crossed Rhine on Ludendorf bridge and into the Remagen bridgehead.
March 15: Attacked Butgenbach. Currie killed. Bryan shocked. Zuban in 3rd section. Ole 4th squad leader and Red 3rd squad leader.
March 16: Skinandou came to 4th squad. Lt. Williams section leader.
March 18: Moved up above the Weid River.
March 19: Stayed in small town above river. Zanowiak gave the squad haircuts. Good meal: eggs, ham, french fries.
March 20: About 2 a.m. 3rd section with ammo bearers from 1st section went across. 1st and 2nd sections crossed at 8 a.m. Plenty of wine.
March 21: Moved up to Brietshied and that night followed Fox Company while they wandered around lost. Plenty of machine gun bullets and 88s. A few casualties. Very lucky.
March 22: Started mopping up behind 9th Armored Division.
March 26: Freed our first allied prisoners. Beau coups schnapps. Bryan back from hospital.
April 10: Hated to stop mopping up. Started for Ruhr Pocket. Long, steep hike. Billet and Newberry left for other sections.
April 16: Closed Ruhr Pocket. Plenty of pistols and prisoners. 395th Inf. Reg. captured the 11th Panzer Division.
April 17: Transferred to 3rd Army and rode 350 miles to Bavaria in the 7th Army area.
April 19: Redmond left again. Billet 3rd squad leader.
April 22: Moved into Roth. Ordered to sleep in field. Slept in bed in town. Smith came from the machine gunners into the 4th squad. Murphy and Secrest came into 3rd squad like Smith.
April 23: Moved to Hilpolstin. 14th Armored Divisiontook off.
April 24: Moved to Weinfeld. Had darn good meal.
April 25: Moved out with George Company instead of Fox and got pinned down in Kinding. Flip got hit in the right arm and shoulder in the afternoon. Moved out about 1500 hours to clean out opposition in the woods and finally did so by 0300, April 26. Bryan back as 2nd Lt. Oh yes, crossed another stream.
April 27: Attempted to cross Danube. Lt. Williams hit in arm by machine gun bullet and Tobin stayed to help wounded men. Was in the water for three hours. He'll get a Bronze Star. Lt. Bennett, CO, was killed.
April 28: Crossed in 393rd Inf. Area. Mopped up our original area. Malley left.
April 30: Moved to Moosberg, where 127,000 Allied prisoners had been freed by 14th Armored Division. Crossed Isar River.
May 2: Moved to Alfraunhofen. Lt. Bryan now 2nd section leader.
May 3: Cease firing and halt advances ordered. Rumor from every source seems to say "peace."
May 8: V-E Day.
May 14: S/Sgt. Butzin, former squad leader and S/Sgts. Burnam and Edens returned to company.
S/Sgt. Theodore Koklades, section sergeant
S/Sgt. Fred Billet, squad leader
Cpl. Leonard Bone, No. 1 gunner
Pfc. Sizemore, No. 2 gunner
Pfc. Pinamonti, No. 3 gunner
Pfc. Poole, ammo bearer
Pfc. Murphy, ammo bearer
Pfc. Secrest, ammo bearer
Pfc. O'Briant, ammo bearer
S/Sgt. Eugene Oledzki, squad leader
Cpl. Frank Richter, No. 1 gunner
Pfc. Carl Jordan, No. 2 gunner
Pfc. Paul Zanowiak, No. 3 gunner
Pfc. Jack Phillips, ammo bearer
Pfc. Tony Shenandou, ammo bearer
Pfc. Ken Smith, ammo bearer
Pfc. "Rev" Allgood, ammo bearer
S/Sgt. Otto Butzin
Capt. Robert Hinn, company commander
1st Lt. Bronson Kinchloe, executive officer
1st Lt. "Pops" Hedrick, 1st Platoon leader
1st. Lt. Roderick, 2nd Platoon leader
1st Lt. Herbert Cantor, 3rd Platoon leader
2nd Lt. Miller, 1st section leader, 3rd Platoon
2nd Lt. Frank Bryan, 2nd section leader, 3rd Platoon
2nd Lt. Leo Winterick, 3rd section leader, 3rd Platoon